Have you ever made sushi before? I just love having it when someone else has prepared it. But when it comes down to it, my at-home sushi making experiences are normally throwing some mashed avocado on a sheet of nori with some carrots, cucumber, peppers & sprouts and rolling it into a burrito. I don’t even cut it. I’ve never made the rice, it just all sounded so complicated. But, much like my spring roll making adventure, it turns out, it isn’t so hard after all.
I am the organizer of a vegan group on meetup.com and we tend to have at least one potluck a month. Our favourite thing is to have themes. We’ve done tea parties, raw food, cupcakes, soul food and much more. And recently, we’ve been getting together to make food together. One of the stellar vegan cooks in the group offered her home up so we could come in and make sushi together. Everyone brought an ingredient or two and we were all involved from each and every step from beginning to end.
We started by making the rice:
Did you know that you’re supposed to fan the rice as it’s being mixed? I didn’t!
We chopped up all of our add-ins:
Then, the fun began – actual sushi making part =) It was nice that we had such a large assortment of rolling ingredients so we could make several different kinds.
We even had Miso Soup:
This was probably one of my favourite get togethers. This is not something I make at home, so I really enjoyed the food.
Here is how we prepared the sushi rice:
2 cups uncooked sushi rice
3 cups water
3 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbsp sake
1 tbs mirin
1 tsp salt
Start by rinsing the rice under cool tap. Put the rinsed rice in a large pot with the water, bring to a boil, and then reduce it heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 20 minutes. The rice should be tender, but note that the water should not be absorbed. Once tender, transfer the rice to a large bowl and allow it to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sake, mirin, and salt. Pour this mixture over the cooked rice and with a paddle and fold to combine. While you mix, have a friend fan the rice with a cutting board to help evaporate extra liquid and cool it faster. Then, mix it up until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is slightly sticky. Allow your rice to cool to room temperature before rolling it into sushi.
Although I don’t have a true recipe for you today, I will give you all of the tips & tricks my friend Autumn shared with us.
- bamboo rolling mat
- toasted nori
- prepared sushi rice
- shoyu and wasabi paste for dipping
- pickled ginger
- red bell pepper
- green onions
- tempeh and/or shiitake teriyaki
- micro greens
For more seasoned sushi enthusiasts, you can try preserved umeboshi plum (extremely salty and sour) ,or natto (fermented whole soy beans—definitely an acquired taste!)
- Lay a sheet of nori on the rolling mat. It’s easier to put the side with guide lines facing down so you can use them to cut the roll later.
- Spread a layer of sushi rice over the nori, leaving about 1-inch uncovered on the far side of the nori (so you can seal the roll).
- Add desired ingredients, and get rolling!
- If the nori doesn’t seal at the end, use a little water to make it sticky and press down.
- Cut into pieces and enjoy!
A note about ingredients:
Miso: I prefer red because it has a stronger flavor, but white or yellow are great too.
Kombu: a thick, leathery type of seaweed used for making soup stocks. Purchase dashi combo in dried form.
Wakame: a mild seaweed often served in soups and salads
Rice vinegar: make sure not to buy seasoned rice vinegar, which contains added salt and sugar. It’s not necessary!
Sake: use cooking (cheaper) quality sake. It’s easy to find at a Japanese market like Marukai (in Cupertino) or a pan-Asian grocery like 99 Ranch Market.
Mirin: Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, similar to sake but with lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. Make sure to check the label when you buy mirin, since there are a lot of knock offs that are literally HFCS or sugar water and salt, and they taste terrible!! You probably can’t find real mirin at a normal grocery store. Whole Foods will have it but it’s overpriced. Asian markets will have real and fake stuff but the real stuff will be much more affordable! A good brand to look for is Takara Mirin (more info: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/dining/searching-for-the-real-mirin.html?_r=0
Shoyu: is a type of Japanese soy sauce. It’s easy to find at Whole Foods or 99 Ranch for a decent price. You can use other soy sauces, they just have a slightly different flavor.
Bamboo rolling mat: these are easy to find at Japanese markets or online and are very cheap.
Sushi rice: is a short grained rice that gets sticky when cooked. You can sub in short grain brown rice if you like, but will be less sticky than the white and will contribute more flavor to the sushi. Avoid medium or long grain rice because they are drier and won’t stick together.
Happy Sushi Making!